At the helm of several Videotron and Thaïzone franchises in the Sherbrooke region, Patrick Gingras dedicates a lot of his energy to customer service, as well as to the human experience that bonds him to his employees. From his entrepreneurial beginnings, way back in 1996, to the new Videotron Business offering, Gingras shares the highs and lows that have defined his career.
Current owner of two boutiques and two restaurants, Gingras started out as a clerk in a SuperClub before transferring to Videotron’s head office a few years later. From there, he didn’t hesitate to seize the opportunities that came his way. “The restaurant and telecommunication industries are completely different,” points out the Montréal native. “However, both are excellent antidotes to routine.”
Gingras, who admits to being a demanding consumer himself, pays particular attention to customer service in all his endeavours. “As an entrepreneur, I like doing business with companies that provide exceptional customer service.” For him, that means taking the time to listen to customers and being there to assist them when needed.
Learning from his mistakes
While the family man tries to pay equal attention to both his banners, he admits having to put one above the other at different points in time. “When there are fires to put out somewhere, we sometimes have no choice but to put one business a little to the side,” explains the entrepreneur.
During the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gingras was inevitably forced to invest a lot of time and energy in his restaurant franchise. The result: an important collaborator, who felt neglected, jumped ship. “Before our Videotron boutiques were deemed essential and reopened, my collaborator wanted to be involved in the management team rather then be without a job. I lost an excellent manager because I wasn’t present at the time; I wasn’t listening.”
This unfortunate episode really affected Gingras, for as much as he places great importance on his clientele, he is just as committed to watching his teams develop and grow. In fact, Gingras is always happy and willing to share his own experience with employees who want to hear it. “I started as a SuperClub clerk in 1996, and from there, I just seized every opportunity that came my way,” recalls the businessman.
The importance of discipline
Gingras used the situation with his employee to re-evaluate some of his practices. For example, he implemented a better work discipline in order to meet with each of his managers equally and ensure an adequate follow-up in regard to his hiring and training procedures. “It’s not a question of priority, but rather being able to give ample time to everyone in order to better recognize the warning signs.”
These new initiatives weren’t difficult to implement, as Gingras is a disciplined and rigorous individual in his personal life as well. One activity he is fully committed to is running, which he does at least three times a week: “I run to clear my head,” says Gingras, who goes on to say that it also helps with his productivity and patience.
Learning to let go
Taking a break allows Gingras to take a step back to better move forward. Climbing the ranks by working various jobs, the entrepreneur spent years handling every aspect of his businesses, staying abreast of everything that was happening within his teams. “Today, I’ve learned to let go thanks to my children,” explains Gingras, whose family has since joined him in his ventures. “My kids taught me that I can’t change or control everything in life.”
“One of my principles is granting my teams autonomy,” continues Gingras. “I give them guidelines and then I let them grow and make their own mistakes. I sleep soundly at night despite all my responsibilities!”
“By offering all telecommunication services, we’re going to become a place of reference for our clients! Most importantly, it will make a huge difference for them to work with a local team who understands the challenges they face.”
- Patrick Gingras
Gingras makes a point of constantly reinventing himself by finding inspiration in other entrepreneurs or by brainstorming new ideas. “I think the key is to never stop evolving; the status quo doesn’t exist in business if you ask me,” claims Gingras, who actively listens to podcasts that talk about operational challenges, customer service, and personal development.
“It’s important to surround yourself with the right people,” continues Gingras. “You can’t be afraid to reach out and talk to other franchisees and business owners. Take the restaurant industry for example—you have to think beyond the competition, because we’re all stronger when we share our ideas with one another.”
It’s in part thanks to his proactivity and openness to change that Gingras viewed Videotron’s new shift toward a business clientele as a positive transformation. “By offering all telecommunication services, we’re going to become a place of reference for our clients! Most importantly, it will make a huge difference for them to work with a local team who understands the challenges they face.”
21 July 2022, By Videotron Business